Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day fifty-one

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one potager gardening
A cartful of courgettes

Day fifty-one, 6th May 2020

Project potager 

Today was a good day, spent in the garden. The wind that had plagued me yesterday was replaced with a calm, warm day, with clear blue skies and a temperature that reached 24º, perfect weather for planting out my vegetable seedlings.

While Adrian raked over the plot and dug out the holes, I counted up how many plants I had, then worked out who would be planted, and where. The idea had been to pass on any extras we couldn’t fit in to local friends, but sadly (for them), there was space for 62 and I only had 59 (assorted courgette, butternut squash, white patisson, pumpkin and pink grapefruit squash). I think this means I can go shopping for more, yippee. 

We are still a few days away from the feast days of the Ice Saints, St Mamert on 11th, St Pancrace on 12th and St Servais on 13th May, who legend says often bring with them the last nightly frosts of spring. The cautious among our French neighbours will always wait for these dates to pass before planting out anything tender. However, our next door neighbour has already planted out his tomatoes and he’s never got it wrong yet, and I’ve been watching from over the garden wall, for fifteen summers now. Our thirty-one tomato seedlings are still a bit small, so we will wait a week or so before they go out.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one potager gardening
My champette of courgettes, squash and pumpkins

I followed behind Adrian and his shovel, and gently nestled each precious plant into its own specially prepared hole, full of our homemade organic compost. Once they had been watered in and had their photos taken for the family album, the only thing left to do was to wish them a happy growing season and hope they bear lots of fruits. They will get another water tonight and lots of love and attention from me over the coming weeks and I’ll be sure to let you know when I pick the first courgette.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one pool
Bye bye pool

Project pool

The next big project in the garden is to take down our above ground pool that has been on the terrace since the spring of 2006. The liner perished last year, and we have come to the sad decision that we really don’t use it enough anymore to replace it. With Ed in Poitiers and Adrian working away a lot, I don’t use it when I am home alone, so its only use is as somewhere cool and refreshing to dip into after a spot of gardening or at the end of a bike ride. A hot-tub would work just as well.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one pool
Ed in the pool

We had great fun with it when Ed was little but gone are the days spent watching him jump from the steps, splash, shriek, climb out and repeat, until he turned all wrinkly. 

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one pots of flowers
A new home for the pots

Today we moved the pots from around the edge, creating a pretty area by the banana and Adrian set about cleaning the structure before we take it down and advertise it for sale. Everything else is in good working order, with a brand-new summer cover and quality sand filtering pump. All that will be needed is a new liner and someone will have a pool that should last them another fifteen years.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day fifty-one Niort legends dragons snakes
The monster of Niort

May memory

On this day last year, the car had a service in Niort, our closest main town that is also home to our departmental council. With the bikes onboard, we left the car in the safe hands of the garage and set off on a pootle around the town centre, where we stopped to treat ourselves to a coffee and a croissant. Here I am with one of the four bronze snake/dragon monsters that mark the gateway to the town centre.  Local legend describes an enormous amphibious snake-like monster that appeared from the Sèvre Niortais river, killed by a local soldier who stabbed it in the throat. Sadly, by removing his helmet too soon, the beast poisoned and killed him with its last breath. The ones found around town today are thankfully harmless, although if you walked into them or tripped over them, I bet they could still do some damage. 

1 comment:

  1. Good morning Jacqui. We have had a cold spell here but the forecast is good for next week, it will be all systems go planting out the courgettes, pumpkins & squash. It's very exciting and this year for once I am ahead of the game. How far apart do you plant yours? I think I have been too cautious and might be able to squeeze a few more plants in. Have a good day. Jayne Gray X


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